Comparison of Federal Tax Programs 2006


For the past 10 years, I have been using TurboTax to do my taxes. Living in Texas, I only have Federal Income Taxes to consider. Generally, I use a program as a double-check of what I know and to produce neater forms to file. Over time I have been simplifying my tax situation -- children grown and gone, 401(k) and IRA for retirement, savings in simple mutual funds. So my taxes are pretty simple -- income, some 1099's from mutual funds, property taxes and mortgage income, charital contributions.

Part of the draw of using TurboTax was that you got a free version of Quicken, both made by Intuit. But, over time, Intuit has raised the price of the TurboTax, and then required the Deluxe version, while there seemed to be little if any improvement in Quicken. So this year, we went with just Basic TurboTax, and skipped the "free" Quicken.

And this year, I noticed an ad in Money magazine saying that I could download a free version of TaxCut for Money magazine readers from www.taxcut.com/moneymagazine . So I figured this was an easy way to compare them.

TurboTax Basic for 2006

TaxCut for 2006

The results of the two programs look very much the same. There are minor font and layout differences, but both look like standard IRS forms. And the number are mostly the same. The two programs seem to round differently -- one lists taxable income as 640; the other as 641. But they both compute the same taxes, the same payments, the same refund. And both took about the same amount of time. Very comparable products.